|Mt. Ranier from the plane|
Yesterday I walked with the ladies (ten of us showed up) in really cold weather, which didn't seem too bad once the wind had died down. We did walk through some patchy ice on the trails, but nobody fell, not even me. People I know have fallen on the ice; my neighbor Lynn fell and twisted her ankle and tried to brake her fall with one hand, so she now has a sore arm and sore ankle.
Looking back on my visit to Florida, a few things stand out: the wonderful warm weather and that fabulous outdoor pool my sister swims in every morning. They seem like a mirage from here, something that I just made up in a dream, although I can imagine myself slipping into that water and taking off for my first lap, watching the bubbles as I breathe out into the water and begin my stroke. I have everything here to continue swimming if I choose, but I probably won't. Our pool is indoors, of course, and the lanes are shorter and very much in demand. At my sister's YMCA, I never had to share a lane, not once. Not to mention having her nearby was simply delightful.
I haven't had a chance to miss her or Peter (her son who lives with her), since I've been pretty busy since I returned home. I started my travels from her home at 6:00am and was picked up by SG at 6:00pm, and with a three-hour time change I realized I had been traveling for fifteen hours. Fortunately he was standing outside the shuttle bus from Seattle with my heavy coat in hand, and he then drove us back to our own warm and snug home. All the icy patches on the ground and in the streets reminds me that we haven't had a hard freeze and snow like this in years.
The next morning, Thursday, I ventured out with my car on the icy streets and found that almost everything had cleared, as the sunshine allowed most of the streets to be drivable. Even though the temperature has stayed frigid, I wasn't too nervous as I drove to the Senior Center. How many people would show up for our shortened hike before our Christmas party? Plenty, as it turned out: there were fifteen of us on the Hertz Trail on the north shore of Lake Whatcom. Afterwards, we went to Sue's home, where those who didn't hike, as well as the other group of Trailblazers, gathered for a wonderful potluck. It was the best attended in years, with more than forty of us enjoying fabulous food and company. Once I got home I wrote a post about it here.
Today I will attend my last Sunday yoga class with Laifong, before a break in the schedule and then a new instructor for Level I. I am making progress, slowly and gradually, and now can do some poses that seemed impossible a year ago. Yes, it's been a year since I started at Yoga Northwest, and I am no longer falling as often; my balance is definitely better, and I've begun to gain strength in my back and arms. And it's another community of like-minded people: I see some of the other practitioners around town and we acknowledge each other with a smile.
About the title of this post, "running out of time." Why did that come to mind first thing this morning? Partly it's the time of year, when everywhere I see reminders that we only have two more weeks in this year, with "best of" lists and retrospectives already beginning. I am only just now beginning to feel comfortable with 2016, and now it's almost gone, with 2017 on the horizon. Some years just fly by, and at this time in my life, that is the norm. The days and weeks and months no longer seem to have a simple 24 hours, 7 days, 12 months—they accelerate in their passage until I feel dizzy with the realization that I'm definitely running out of time.
No matter what happens in the remainder of my life, I've had a very good one, filled with everything that a person could desire: a happy family life when I grew up, lots of thrills and chills as I began my own journey out into the world, with love and loss and pain, just like everybody else. I had a good career and became more successful than most women I know, with a salary that seemed huge to me at the time. And I discovered an avocation in skydiving that gave me my very much loved life partner, as well as the chance to instruct more than a thousand students to safely enjoy my chosen sport.
In my move to Bellingham nine years ago now, I also discovered that it was possible to develop a daily routine that gives me everything I need in retirement to stay healthy and engaged in activities that fill me with joy. And the world of the internet, especially Blogland where we visit one another, has come to fill my need for mental pushups. I've got friends all over the world whose journey I share, and when I think of you all I feel immense happiness for our ability to know each other through our blogs. In retirement, I have managed to maintain a healthy intellectual life. I am always on the lookout for another good book to read, and my blogging friends often point me to new ones.
And then there's this particular blog, my Eye on the Edge, that reminds me that the Edge is not very far off, now that I am in my mid-seventies and, although trying hard to stay healthy, knowing that we all must find a way to make a good exit from this wonderful place we call home. We have the ability to look at the future, whatever it holds, as a possibility to extract every little bit of love and joy we can from it. Einstein once said, "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
You know which way I choose to live. I hope you, too, will see the miracle of your life, the wonder of it, as a gift that you share with me. Please remember to take care of yourself during these hectic times, and savor every single last little bite. Until we meet again next week, on Christmas, be well and don't forget to hug your loved ones.